You went to a great college and you landed a spot in a competitive job. You’re finally here! But wait — now what? You’ve been great at following the rules your entire life. You always had a clear path to follow, the structure of education to rely on. You had that light at the end of the tunnel you were chasing.

But now you’re here in corporate and it feels foreign. You still feel the pressure to achieve, but the rules aren’t clear. You have the drive to succeed, but don’t know how to channel that energy. College didn’t prepare you for this. If only you had a definition of success and a clear plan with actionable steps to take you know you could absolutely achieve it.

You're an achiever.

Hey, I've been right where you are, and I've achieved success.

I’m a success coach for early career professionals who feel the pressure to progress in their careers but don’t know what that means, what it takes, and how to get there. I help them get clear on what they want and create a plan to make it happen so they can confidently navigate the corporate environment achieving their definition of a successful career. 

My story begins in grad school. I started my degree in Materials Science the Monday after completing my B.S. in Chemical Engineering. I needed to complete an extended internship in order to graduate and I knew this going in. 
 
With 4 rejections under my belt, I struggled through my 5th interview with a panel of 3 intimidating engineers at a Fortune 500 company. Gulp. I lived through it and performed my absolute best, but left feeling like it wasn’t good enough.

I thought for sure I'd blown it.

Despite the daunting tasks ahead of me, things were going well! I knew what I needed to do and I was doing it. I received great feedback from my mentor and manager on a regular basis. My graduate advisors were satisfied with everything as well — I was getting the credit I needed to get my degree. 

A few months went by and graduation was in my line of sight. I started asking about a permanent position and how I could get one. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a whole lot of answers… or encouragement. 

I showed up for work and a training plan and mentor were waiting for me. I was tasked with learning, documenting, and identifying the potential usage of a piece of equipment no one knew how to use that was purchased for a program that had been canceled. Whoa! I thought this was a pretty crazy introduction into high tech. 

I was shocked a few days later to receive a voicemail with an internship offer. In fact, I was going to be the highest paid intern in the program. I promptly called back and accepted — I was ecstatic!

It was 2007 and no one was hiring... but I was persistent.

I asked the question at just about every 1:1 with my manager I had. I wasn’t being pushy, but until she said an absolute “no” I was still going to bring it up. I needed a job after this internship ended - not working was simply not an option. I liked the people, the environment, and the work — of course I wanted to stay at this company.

I was given the date, times, and topics for my interviews - Chemistry, Process Engineering, Statistical Process Control, and Soft Skills. Working on a piece of equipment no one knew how to use did not prepare me for process engineering and statistical process control. I needed help.

A couple months of my persistence wore her down. I finally got her to commit to work with another manager to arrange an interview, although there were no guarantees I would at least have a chance to show myself. 

I requested a meeting with a statistician at the company. I leveled with him on my situation and the interview and asked him what I’d need to know if I were a process engineer. He spent the next hour with me sketching out concepts and graphs on engineering paper and answered every single question I had.

4 hours of interviews later and I was officially hired.

That was the hardest and most grueling process I had ever gone through. Without the help of my friendly statistician it would’ve been successful. I even found out later that as the interviewees gathered to discuss my performance the engineer that interviewed me on that topic said “man, she sure does know a lot about process control!”

After this whirlwind was over I went back to my role completing my internship and degree. The following Monday I moved to a new division, role, responsibilities, and manager as a full-fledged engineer.

My mentor in this new role was fantastic! She was an expert and very open to questions — I 
felt comfortable with her. My manager, however, was not helpful. At my first performance review we discussed ranks, career paths, and the general expectation that I needed to promote to the next level, but anything beyond that was up to me. He provided no guidance, help, or leadership on the how-to.

College didn't prepare me for this.

Within 2 years, I was on manager number 4. I asked about career advancement and opportunities with each of them. Every single one of them had different “rules.” These ranged from promoting to the next level would take 1-3 years, 2-5 years, or if it takes more than 3 years and we should fire you.

I was frustrated as hell.
 
Then, they announced massive layoffs were coming. We had reached the peak in the recession and downsizing was imminent. I had to update my resume and “apply” to keep a job at this company. I felt nauseated every single day with the unknown. 
 
I started doing everything I could think of that I still had control over. I wrote thorough documentation of my work and accomplishments, making sure my value and contributions were clear. I communicated this more widely and with stronger language. I set up meetings with managers in other areas to express interest.


That year I said goodbye to hundreds of laid off colleagues.

Fortunately, I was kept on and moved to a different area. Now at 3 years in I was in my 3rd role and on my 4th manager. I had some unique experience in my own right. I had also built my flexibility and adaptability muscles out of necessity. I was now well-versed in self-advocacy and articulating my value was rote. 

Over the next 2 years I…

Advanced to the next level in rank
Justified a rotation to yet another role that provided more growth for me
Received my first raise

Within another 3 years I...

Advocated for rotation to another role and a raise
Interviewed for, and beat out more experienced candidates, a strategic role and promotion and a big raise
Was being asked for career advice from a lot of people

Today, I get to help amazing, high-achieving people define and pursue what success looks like to them in their careers in corporate. I absolutely love this work and having a tangible, positive impact in my clients’ lives every day. 

I became a go-to person for how to navigate corporate and find success.

This is my definition of

I would love to hear from you! Click here to discover how we can work together to define and execute your successful career path, or send me an email at stephanie@stephaniekingonline.com.

This blossomed into co-founding a non-technical career coaching program as part of an employee network. I personally started coaching multiple people. This quickly became a highlight of my work week. I decided to branch out on my own to spend more time doing the work that I love.

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